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South Korea to acquire F-35 missiles and bombs under US foreign military sale

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon joins a South Korean F-35A Lightning II to conduct combined flight operations July 28, 2023, employing munitions at a live-fire training area off the west coast of South Korea. The U.S. remains committed to peace and prosperity through the region to secure a free and open Indo-Pacific and its ironclad commitment to the defense of South Korea. Photo: South Korea air force photo by Senior Master Sgt. Kwan-Young Hong.

The Republic of Korea will acquire F-35 missiles, bombs, and equipment in a possible US$271 million foreign military sale approved by the US State Department.

The Republic of Korea will acquire F-35 missiles, bombs, and equipment in a possible US$271 million foreign military sale approved by the US State Department.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the US Congress of the possible sale to South Korea on 1 December.

The sale includes 39 AIM-120C-8 advanced medium range air-to-air missiles, two AIM-120C-8 AMRAAM guidance sections, 88 KMU-556 tail kits for GBU-31v1 joint direct-attack munitions, 86 Mk-84 general purpose 2,000-pound bombs for the GBU-31v1 JDAM, 70 KMU-557 tail kits for the GBU- 31v3 JDAM, 70 BLU-109C/B 2,000-pound bombs for the GBU-31v3 JDAM, and 78 KMU- 572 tail kits for the GBU-54 laser JDAM.


It also includes 269 MAU-169 Computer Control Groups/Guidance Sections for the GBU-12 Paveway II, 269 MXU-650 Air Foil Groups for the GBU-12 Paveway II, 342 Mk-82 500-pound GP bombs for the GBU-12 Paveway II or GBU-54 LJDAM, 12 Mk-82 inert bombs, 35 GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb-Increment 1 (SDB-I) All-Up-Rounds, and 118 GBU-53 Small Diameter Bomb-Increment 2 (SDB-II) AURs.

The sale also includes equipment such as AIM-120 control section spares and containers, DSU-38 laser illuminated target detectors, SDB-I tactical training rounds and carriage systems, SDB-II Practical Explosive Ordnance Disposal Trainers and Weapon Load Crew Trainer units, FMU-139 fuses, ADU-891 adapter group computer test sets, Mk-84 practice bombs and other training bombs, components, munitions support, and spare parts.

“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy goals and national security objectives of the United States by improving the security of a major ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region,” according to a statement from the DSCA.

“The proposed sale will improve the Republic of Korea’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing its fighter fleet with a range of air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions to deter aggression in the region and ensure interoperability with US forces.

“The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.”

Lockheed Martin Corporation, Raytheon Missiles and Defense, and Boeing will be the principal contractors.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration has also announced Embraer’s C-390 Millennium as the winner of the Large Transport Aircraft II public tender to provide the Republic of Korea Air Force with new military transport aircraft.

Under the signed contract, marking South Korea as the C-390 Millennium’s first customer in Asia, Embraer will provide an undisclosed number of C-390 Millennium aircraft specially configured to meet ROKAF’s requirements, as well as services and support including training, ground support equipment, and spare parts.

Embraer will also provide a comprehensive consortium and offset package including a significant amount of C-390 Millennium parts to be locally manufactured by Korean partner companies and the development of a local maintenance repair and overhaul provider.

“We welcome the Republic of Korea Air Force to the growing number of air forces operating the C-390 Millennium, the most modern military tactical transport aircraft,” according to Bosco da Costa Jr, Embraer Defense and Security president and chief executive officer.

“Day after day, the aircraft has proven its capability to complete a wide range of missions with great efficiency, serviceability, and speed.

“This is a new era in Brazil-South Korea relations and together with our Korean partners, we are committed to growing the capabilities of its aerospace and defence industries.”

South Korea is the seventh nation to select the C-390 after Brazil, Portugal, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

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